You have a good question, but the answer is not an easy one. First of all, it would depend on where you are in the country. Some large metropolitan cities are losing major employers while others are gaining them. the loss of jobs has a direct affect on the foreclosure inventories. I live in a small artist village that borders a large lake. Our growth is dependent on the second home or retirement buyer, and not particularly tied to the job market. What controls home values is tied strongly to inventory. Right now, we are all inundated in distressed properties either through short sales or foreclosed homes. When this inventory has been reduced, then we will see home values increase and stabilize. the name of the game, my friend, is holding power. The market will come back.
Your last question about paying or not paying any commissions indicates that you have signed a buyer broker agreement in which you are paying your broker for her services. In most situations, the buyer does not pay for the brokerage fees, the seller does by contract with the listing broker. Regardless, if you have a complaint you might want to first meet with the agent's managing broker to discuss your issues. If you feel that you are not able to find resolution, by all means you might want to file a grievance with the local association in which the executive officer of that association can guide you through the stages. Regardless of any friendship your agent has with the seller, she has a commitment to you and should assist you through the buying process.